Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Over 250 airports join global climate action efforts, 49 now carbon neutral—ACI

More than 250 airports are actively engaged in the global climate action effort, with nearly 50 of them operated by carbon-neutral companies, according to Airports Council International (ACI).

In a release, ACI said 259 airports are currently in the global carbon management standard called Airport Carbon Accreditation, a global carbon management program for airports that independently assesses and recognizes airports’ efforts to manage and reduce their CO2 emissions.

Niclas Svenningsen, who heads the Climate Neutral Now initiative at the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, said the airport industry’s work through the Airport Carbon Accreditation program is an example of global private sector becoming engaged in climate action.

He added that of the 259 airports now on board, “167 of those are actively reducing their emissions, 102 of them have also engaged others on the airport site to get involved and 49 are running carbon neutral airport operations.”

The latest airport operator to become carbon neutral is Aeroporto di Napoli in Italy, said ACI, which developed and launched the accreditation program in 2009 in Europe.

Armando Brunini, CEO of Aeroporto di Napoli, said, “Our journey to this moment—from initially mapping our carbon emission sources, to reducing our emissions, engaging other companies on the airport site to get involved and now becoming carbon neutral—have benefited from the framework, guidance and rigour of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.”

Brunini added that airport operators compete with each other to attract airlines to set up new routes, attract passengers, embrace the latest innovation, and more.

With climate change now an urgent priority, he said that “it’s only fitting that we should seek to exceed expectations on this too—as a way of motivating even more climate action within the airport industry and the wider air transport sector.”

4 levels

The airport accreditation program has four different levels: mapping, reduction, optimization, and neutrality.

ACI said several airports recently moved up to Level 3 (Optimization) by stepping up their activities, from reducing their own carbon emissions to also engaging other companies on the airport site to reduce their emissions.

These are Narita International Airport, Kansai and Osaka Airports (Japan); Taoyuan International Airport (Taiwan); Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport (Ecuador); Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport (Romania); Larnaca and Paphos Airports (Cyprus); and Lapland Airports (Enontekio, Ivalo, Kemi Tornio, Kittila, Kuusamo and Rovaneimi in Finland).

Airports that recently moved up to Level 2 (Reduction) include Noumea la Tontouta (New Caledonia), Salahah Airport (Oman), and Dinard Bretagne and Rennes Bretagne (France). These airports have progressed from mapping their carbon emissions to actively reducing them, explained ACI.

Meanwhile, several airports have become Airport Carbon Accredited for the first time. Kobe Airport in Japan at Level 2 (Reduction); Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport in China at Level 1 (Mapping); and the four airports of the Airports Authority of India also at Level 1 (Mapping). The Indian airports are Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport, Bhubaneswar Biji Patnail Airport, Varanasi Lal Bhadaur Shastri Airport, and Trivandrum International Airport.

In Europe, newcomer La Réunion Roland Garros Airport joined at Level 2 (Reduction) and Cornwall Airport Newquay in the UK rejoined the program at Level 1 (Mapping).

In the Americas, Kelowna International Airport, Pisco Airport, and Salvador Bahia International all became accredited for the first time at Level 1 (Mapping).

To reduce their carbon emissions, airport operators need to consider the full extent of the emissions sources under their direct control.

“Investment in more energy efficient lighting, heating, switching to hybrid or electric ground vehicles, onsite renewables, energy management tools and employee behavioral change all have a part to play,” said ACI.

The possibilities become even more diverse when airport operators engage other stakeholders on the airport site as well (Level 3 of the program). ACI cited initiatives such as airport-collaborative decision-making, continuous descent operations, and time-based separation, which all help to lower airline-associated carbon emissions, as well as better intermodal access and electric or hybrid taxis offering passengers cleaner transport solutions to and from the airport.

Carbon-neutral airports at Level 3+ of the program have to provide evidence of undertaking all the actions required by the program (mapping their emissions, reducing them and engaging others on the airport site), before investing in responsible carbon offsets.

The 44 carbon-neutral airports during Year 9 of the program (May 2017 to May 2018) offset 672,000 tonnes of CO2 in residual emissions.

Airport Carbon Accreditation is independently administered, institutionally endorsed, and supported by the UNFCCC, United Nations Environment Programme, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, US Federal Aviation Administration, and European Commission.

Image courtesy of ACI

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